Roast chicken with pixies, fennel and ouzo
Yotam Ottolenghi has two gorgeous cookbooks that will inspire you to cook more vegetables: Plenty and Jerusalem. Plenty is vegetarian and Jerusalem is a collection multi-ethnic recipes inspired by the city. Both cookbooks are saturated with mouth-watering pictures that will encourage you to eat a rainbow of colors. The photography is so beautiful you will not know which recipe to start with. While ingredient lists can be long and not always available at your corner market, the recipes in general, do not require a lot of special technique.
A medley of intriguing flavors
This roasted chicken with pixies and ouzo will fill your kitchen with fabulous aromas. I substituted ouzo for the arak (both are anise flavored liquors) and California pixies for clementines. I also add a whole head of garlic cloves, which mellows very nicely with the chicken, fennel and citrus. Don't let the ouzo scare you. I admit I was a little hesitant as my last experience with ouzo was in college. As I dimly recall, the experience wasn't pretty. Fear not, the ouzo accentuates the fennel and is a mellow counterpoint to the tart clementines, mustard and brown sugar. Your investment in the bottle of ouzo will be a good one, as you will make this dish again and again.
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Make ahead, for a crowd and repurpose leftovers for salad the next day
This is a great recipe to make ahead for company as you can prepare it in advance and marinate the dish overnight, although extended marinating is not necessary. The recipe expands easily to adjust to the number you are serving. I used the leftovers to make a tasty salad the next day by tossing pieces of the chicken, fruit and fennel with some lettuce and a mustard, oil and vinegar dressing. Yum!
- To make the sauce, skim off most of the fat and deglaze the cooking liquid before you reduce it. The chicken skin throws off a lot of grease you won't want in your sauce. Deglazing captures all the good bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- See my tip for separating and peeling a whole head of garlic.
- Use bone-in, skin on chicken thighs for best flavor.
- Use clementines, California pixies or other seedless tangerine-like fruit that do not have a lot of airspace between the skin and the fruit.
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- 7 T ouzo (just over ⅓ cup
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 T fresh orange juice
- 3 T fresh lemon juice
- 2 T whole grain mustard
- 3 T brown sugar
- 1 T fresh thyme leaves, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 2.5 t whole, fennel seeds. lightly crushed
- 2.5 t kosher salt
- 1.5 t freshly ground pepper
- 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into 8 wedges
- 3 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
- ¾ pound pixies or clementines, cut into ¼" wedges with skin on
- 1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
- ¼ cup dry white wine or chicken stock
- Handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- Combine first 10 ingredients in a bowl large enough to also accommodate the chicken, fennel and citrus.
- Add the fennel, chicken, citrus and garlic to the marinade. Toss thoroughly with your hands so all ingredients are coated in marinade. Cover and refrigerate a few hours or overnight. If you are short on time, it is OK to cook right away.
- Heat oven to 475 degrees. Place the chicken skin-side up on a roasting pan. Arrange the vegetables and fruit between the chicken so everything is in a single layer. Pour remaining marinade over chicken, vegetables and citrus. Roast for about 35 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the chicken, vegetables and citrus from the roasting pan and arrange on a serving platter. Cover and keep warm.
- Tilt the roasting pan so that all the fat collects in one corner. Skim off excess fat with a small ladle. Put the roasting pan on the stove top and turn on to medium heat. When pan is hot, deglaze with ¼ cup white wine or chicken stock. Stir and scrape to get all the tasty bits off the bottom of the roasting pan. Pour the pan juices into small pan and cook on medium high to reduce. When sauce measures about ⅓ cup remove from heat and pour over chicken, veggies and citrus. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
THIS SERVES WELL WITH